The best way to fight evil magic is to burst into song. Syfy’s The Magicians sported musical numbers in the first two seasons, but nothing compares to the latest tune-filled masterpiece from Season 3. No, not even the Buffy the Vampire Slayer legendary musical episode; “Once More, With Feeling.”
On Wednesday night, the quest for the Golden Keys continued on The Magicians as Quentin, Alice, and Kady were thrust into a magical pocket dimension that felt an awful lot like Glee but at Brakebills. It wasn’t the first time the Magicians have broken out into song and dance: Season 1 did Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and Season 2 had a number from Les Miserables.
In this pocket universe, a demon trapped Magicians outsider Josh Hoberman in a never-ending party of good vibes and even better tunes. The only way out is by partying with showstopping song-and-dance routines until the demon is full. After the Fifth Golden Key unifies everyone’s minds across worlds, everything culminates with the entire cast belting out the David Bowie/Queen classic “Under Pressure” to save the day.
Buffy’s musical episode — which also featured a music-loving demon — might be iconic and totally awesome, but there’s something even more refreshing about seeing The Magicians continue to totally crush it in Season 3.
Josh takes center stage in “All That Josh,” so it makes sense that actor Trevor Einhorn does two of the four musical numbers by himself and joins the rest of the cast for the big finale. The very first number is his rendition of Clooney’s “Wham Bam.” Later, to distract the music demon’s minions, Jade Tailor’s Kady performs a striptease to “All I Need Is the Boy” (itself a twist on “All I Need Is the Girl” from Gypsy). Then it’s back to Josh for “Car Wash” before the big finale.
But let’s talk about that “Under Pressure” number, which has us clamoring for a bonafide Magicians musical stage production. Buffy has got as much plenty of times since the episode aired, and this is arguably even more fun.
The whole thing comes at the climax of the show’s various plots: Julia almost killed an innocent fairy while Margo and Eliot plummet to their deaths over the Infinity Waterfalls. But the magic of the Fifth Key and their unity brings them together enough to make the Muntjac fly and give Julia even more magical powers.
The Buffy episode “Once More, with Feeling” originally aired in 2001 and has since stood as a cultural touchstone for whenever a show does a one-off musical episode. The Magicians already has a bit of history with this, but we’ve seen it from the likes of Scrubs and even a Supergirl and The Flash crossover last year. It’s a trend that seems to only grow in genre fiction, and one we’d love to see more of.
Buffy might’ve started the trend, but nobody does it quite like The Magicians.
The Magicians airs Wednesday nights on Syfy at 9 p.m. Eastern.
For an inside look on the episode, check out Syfy’s behind-the-scenes look with cast and crew: